Earlier this off-season we took a look back at the 2008, 2009, 2010 NFL Drafts and assigned grades to Thomas Dimitroff. Now it's time to look at 2011. It's still too early to provide a permanent grade to this draft but let's take a look at how it has turned out so far.
The past draft was probably the most shocking one in recent Falcons history. Atlanta traded an astonishing five picks to move up into the first round and select WR Julio Jones from Alabama, and made another trade to move up and take RB JacQuizz Rodgers from Oregon State in the 5th round.
Atlanta's first pick in this draft was Julio Jones. In his rookie year, Jones did a great job reeling in 54 catches for 959 yards and 8 Touchdowns despite missing 3 games with hamstring issues. Jones has elite size and speed as well as a great ability to get YAC. Jones has all the making of a future superstar in this league, he needs to correct his issues with drops and develop more timing with Matt along with staying healthy. With a full offseason under his belt he and Roddy could be a very scary combination next year. So far this is an A from me, Julio is an absolute freak of nature and will be terrorizing NFL secondaries for many years to come.
The Falcons 2nd pick in this draft was that of MLB Akeem Dent. Dent didn't receive any starts or much playing time at all on defense, but was a ST standout as a rookie he gathered 20 tackles and forced two fumbles on kick coverage. Dent seems to be in the mold of a run stuffer and seems to be capable of making plays. If Curtis Lofton is lost to FA this year we could see Dent come in and take over the starting job. So far this grade is a B- from me, he really showed on ST, but I need to see him play actual defense.
The 3rd person picked by Atlanta in this draft was RB JacQuizz Rodgers from Oregon State. Quizz is small in stature (5'6, 191 LBs) but proved to be a great option on 3rd downs along with displaying a bit of Maurice Jones-Drew like power. JacQuizz's biggest contributions came in the passing game where he was a reliable target for Matt. So far this is a B from me.
The pick after that was Matt Bosher, a Punter out of Miami. Bosher struggled at first shanking several kicks but eventually he rebounded and became more consistent and start booming punts and kicks along with making so TD saving tackles on ST. I'd give this pick a grade of C+.
The two picks after that were Andrew Jackson a guard out of Fresno State, and Cliff Matthews a defensive end from South Carolina. Both men didn't recieve any playing time in the regular season, but both looked very good in the preseason and we can expect to hear more from both of them in the future, so far both of them get Cs.
Overall this draft was rather solid and when presented with an opportunity Thomas Dimitroff jumped up and took a chance with Julio. Dent and Rodgers both look like they could be future impact players and P Matt Bosher did a great job down the stretch. The two 7th rounders Jackson and Matthews both also look promising. Overall I'd give this draft a B.
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I'd give it a C+. The only pick I'm happy with is Julio...but he could be huge in the long run. Bosher is good, and Rodgers has potential to be a change-of-pace guy. Still - in a draft where we needed impact guys, we really only got 1.
@TheGentlemanMasher We shall see. Rodgers and Dent should definitely get some long looks this year.